Sunday, October 24, 2010

Confidence Can Be Dangerous

Confidence can be a dangerous thing, especially when you're a writer. As many books as I have read and enjoyed, there are that many more that I have started and never finished because they were that bad. Each time this happens I think, if this person can get published so can I!

Dangerous, indeed.

You see, the publishing industry reminds me of that money pie politicians often evoke. The theory goes something like this:

There is a pie. The pie represents all the money. There are only eight slices available. Seven of the slices are eaten (spent) by hungry rich people. That leaves just one slice of the pie (wealth) available for the remaining 98%. Since one slice is not enough to feed everyone, some of that 98% simply do without--not because they aren't deserving of a bite, there just isn't enough to go around.

I'm not an economy expert, so I don't know if this is truly how the economy works, but this is how publishing works. Seven slices of the publishing pie goes to celebrity writers, best sellers, household names, and already established authors. The remaining slice is all that's available for the rest of the newbies or relatively unknowns. Due to the lack of pie, pubs are that much more selective when deciding who gets a piece and who doesn't. Not unlike the money pie theory, there will be those who get a share even though they don't deserve it, which sucks for those who do.

I remind myself of this often. Earning something or deserving something does not automatically entitle me to anything. There are no guarantees. I know that when/if I am offered a contract, luck will have as much to do with it as my skill, hard work, and determination did. So while I am confident in my abilities, that confidence cannot overshadow realism, because nothing will end a writing career faster than frustration or bitterness.

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